clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Eagles vs. Cowboys II: 5 Good Things and 5 Bad

The Eagles showed flashes of goodness during lots of Sunday's big NFCE showdown. Too bad they drowned in a steady downpour of suck.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Good


Once again, the Eagles run defense was tough.  Sure, Dallas got 115 yards rushing but it took them 42 plays to get there.  They're 3rd in the NFL for rushing, and this was 20% below their average. 10 tackles for loss is a good day for any defense. DeMarco Murray did even worse - the Eagles held him to 81 yards on 31 carries (2.6 YPC) and broke a bone in his hand. Murray had one explosion play for 21 yards, but the rest of the game the NFL's leading rusher needed 30 plays to get 60 yards.

Yes, the pass defense sucked -- we'll get to that -- but if the Eagles replace one or both of their CBs with studs, and maybe a safety to replace Nate Allen, it will get a lot better without taking anything away from this run defense.


The Eagles were 3 for 3, converting 100% for the second game in a row. And this week, there was more than one! Chris Polk has given the Eagles the goal line beef back they need to pound it in. That's big.


First of all, the opening kickoff miscue was not Josh Huff's fault, though I like the way he accepted the blame. The ball damn near hit Brad Smith in the face; it's bizarre that he instructed the rookie to run up 20 yards and get it. Smith -- who had 1,432 yards and 2 TDs returning kickoffs for the Jets in 2010 -- was in that spot precisely to field any short kicks, as Chip Kelly noted later.

But it was Huff's 44 yard catch and run early in the 4th quarter that illustrated everything he can offer this team. First, he improvised to get himself open while Sanchez scrambled. Then he caught the dump off pass despite tight coverage, and used a combination of speed, elusiveness and nasty physicality to add 38 yards after catch. More, please.


Dallas hit the Birds in the mouth hard, grabbing a quick 21-0 lead just 18 minutes into the game, and Philadelphia didn't falter.  They came back steadily without panicking, scoring four times in a row to take the lead with five minutes left in the third.  I got overexcited and coined a new team motto:

It all went to hell after that, because it turned out that the Cowboys were also relentless, but the ability to stay level headed in the worst circumstances is a great building block for the future. This may be the clearest example yet since Kelly took over.


Nick Foles may not come back this year, even if he heals in time.  Chip is a huge believer in rhythm and reps, and there will be little time for Foles to get either if he does return. So there may be a short term, one or two game QB controversy.

But going forward, it's clear that Sanchez is no more than a backup QB.  We don't know yet if Foles is a legitimate starter, and I hope the Eagles can at least get a decent mid-round prospect in the draft to compete with him. But he won't have to worry about Sanchez stealing his job in training camp.

The Bad

Now, the easy part.

All the talk of Chip Kelly as the quarterback whisperer, the guy who can rebuild damaged QBs and maybe take on RGIII as his greatest project next year? Never mind. Chip is an innovative coach who's good with psychology, but he's not an alchemist able to turn lead into gold. There were so many times that the Eagles had a good play, open receivers, nice blocks set up -- and Sanchez couldn't deliver the ball.  He didn't run once, either scrambling or keeping on the "read-[not an]-option." Very frustrating.


Bradley Fletcher was exposed and humiliated Sunday, but he was hardly alone. Interceptions are a distant memory for this secondary. Cary Williams gave up five first downs, three by penalty.  Brandon Boykin has been quiet all year and deteriorated to just plain bad against Dallas.

3), 4) and 5) TURNOVERS.

This one is so bad it gets the last three slots, and half of Sanchez' #1 above.  This is not what the Eagles should be leading the league in.  Sanchez is good for two TOs a game, and always has been.  But Foles beat him to this punch this year, and now even the steadiest Eagles are joining in -- Shady? Darren Sproles? BRENT CELEK?!?!? What is going on, here?  Look guys, it's too late to tank for Mariota. Not going to work.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Bleeding Green Nation Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your Philadelphia Eagles news from Bleeding Green Nation